“At least 18 gay rights protesters were arrested today, 28 May, as they tried to stage a banned Gay Pride parade,” reports British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was part of the protest group in Moscow.
“Eight people were seized by the Kremlin: international gay rights supporters Andy Thayer, Dan Choi and Louis-Georges Tin; plus Moscow Gay Pride committee member, Anna Komarova and other Russian gay activists (names unknown).
“A further three Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) campaigners were arrested outside City Hall.
“These arrests took place between 1pm and 2pm Moscow time.
“I went to City Hall but was separated from our protest group. Neo-Nazis identified me for attack. Being alone and without police protection, I had to escape down side streets and alleyways to avoid a beating.
“Dan Choi, a former US military officer who was dismissed from the American armed forces because of his homosexuality, was violently manhandled by police. He was wrestled to ground and punched. He has some minor injuries.
“Neo-Nazis made repeated attempts to bash the LGBT campaigners as they were being arrested and taken to police buses. Some of the campaigners were struck but none were hurt seriously.
“The whereabouts of some of the arrested persons is unknown at this time.
“Dan Choi and Louis-Georges Tin are being processed at Presnensky Police Station. They are appearing before a police court. Some others are being held at Tverskaya police station.
“Anna Komarova, who is under arrest, reports being pressured by the police to give information about the organisation of Moscow Gay Pride. The police are threatening to detain her for 48 hours unless she gives them the information they want.
“Neither of the Moscow Gay Pride lead organisers, Nikolai Alekseev nor Nikolai Baev, have been arrested. It is unclear whether Mr Alekseev participated in the protests, as he has a bad leg injury from a fall as he left Moscow TV studios on Thursday night,” said Mr Tatchell.